Tuesday, December 20, 2011


A Paisley-born girl golfer who has played for ENGLAND in the annual schools international against Scotland has set her sights on playing for the country of her birth in next year's Women's Home Internationals.
A commendable aspiration but she will have a mountain to climb because Lincolnshire-based, United States college student Kirsty Condon will be totally unknown to the SLGA international selectors who, for starters, won't even know she's a Scot.
“I would love to play for Scotland. I've always considered myself British as I have an English mother and a Scottish father but I would be very proud to represent the nation where I was born,” said Kirsty who will be 20 in May and is currently a sophomore (second-year) student at Radford University, Virginia.
And this patriotic golfing fervour is not just a passing fancy. Kirsty means what she says and to that end she has mapped out a schedule of 2012 tournaments in which she aims to impress the Scotland selectors.
She will be all out to turn in eye-catching performances in the St Rule Trophy at St Andrews on June 2-3 and the Scottish Under-21 girls’ open amateur championship at Blairgowrie from July 25 to 27 next year.
But for the fact that she will be going on a pre-arranged holiday at the time she would have entered the British women’s open amateur championship at Carnoustie from June 26 to 30.
A summer break back home in Lincolnshire from college in America does not count as a holiday!
Ideally Miss Condon would also have played in the Scottish women's amateur championship at Tain from May 15-19 but the US college spring-summer term does not end until the end of May at the earliest so that idea is a non-starter.
Kirsty’s father Ken was born and lived in Irvine, Ayrshire for 25 years, moving to Glasgow in the early 1980s.

“We lived at Bishopton from 1988, Bishopton being near Paisley which explains why Kirsty was born there," said Ken.
"We moved down to Lincolnshire in 1996 and now live in the tiny village of Blankney, adjacent to Kirsty’s home course where she is the joint women’s course record-holder.”
Most golfers - even top pros - can go through their golfing lives without achieving a single hole in one. There are others, like Kirsty Condon, to whom acing a hole is old hat.
She had her first hole in one when she was eight and now has SIX aces to her credit. And that does not count holing out with her second tee shot at a par-3 short hole after she had sent the first one out of bounds!
In 2008 she became the first girl to win the Blankney club junior championship.
“She's played for the club’s women’s section for years and helped transform a sleepy hollow band of golfers into a mobile army, reaching three successive county league finals,” said her dad.
Kirsty won her first Lincolnshire schoolgirls title at Market Rasen in 2008. The following year she played for England against Scotland in the schools international at Westerwood. Kirsty's coach in Lincolnshire is Graham Bradley. Her current handicap is 1.8.
Halfway through her second year at Radford University, Kirsty is in no doubt that playing on the American college golf circuit has made her a better golf. “Experiencing different types of grass has definitely helped me to improve my short game because it's meant that I have to vary the shot I play. Also playing longer and more challenging courses on a regular basis has really made me think carefully about course management,” said Kirsty.
“I feel much better prepared for the summer tournaments at home because of the knowledge I've acquired through collegiate golf to plan my way around the golf course.”
Having grown up surrounded by Lincolnshire accents, apart from her dad’s, Kirsty might have some difficulty understanding the broad Scots tongue but maybe not because she is something of a linguist.
“I've been learning German and French since I was 11 and I started Spanish in my freshman year of college. Now I'm majoring in German and minoring in French and Spanish,” said Kirsty who is home in Lincolnshire for the Festive holidays.
When she comes back across the Atlantic in the late spring, Kristy Condon will be all out to let her clubs do the talking ... and hoping that the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association selectors are listening!
+There is a fly in the ointment to all Kirsty's "play-for-Scotland" endeavour. The 2012 Women's Home Internationals will be hosted by Cork Golf Club in southern Ireland from Tuesday to Thursday, September 4 to 6.
By that time - as ever - the US colleges will have started their 2012-2013 terms. And as talented Scots girls at college in America down through the years such as Janice Moodie, Pam Wright, Vicki Laing, Louise Kenney and, more recently Sally Watson and Rachael Watton have found, the individual college authorities in the States would not even consider releasing them for the week to fly back home, play for Scotland, and then fly back to America
But maybe the times they are a-changing. Baylor University, Texas allowed first-year English student Hayley Davis to fly back all the way to Dubai to play in - and win - the Abu Dhabi Daily Telegraph girls' title in November.
Ken and Kirsty Condon will cross the US college release bridge if and when they come to it. You know what they say - where there's a will, there's a way.
First of all, she has to play well enough to be selected to play for Scotland.